FHA Loan Requirements
• 580+ FICO Score to 96.5 LTV purchase and 97.75 rate & term or 85 LTV cash out
• No minimum FICO on flips or high balance
• No DTI restrictions, follow AUS
• Collections only need to be paid if required by AUS
• No minimum credit history or trade lines with AUS approval
• Borrowers with non-traditional credit is okay
An FHA insured loan is a US Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance backed mortgage loan which is provided by a FHA-approved lender. FHA insured loans are a type of federal assistance and have historically allowed lower income Americans to borrow money for the purchase of a home that they would not otherwise be able to afford. To obtain mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Administration, an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) equal to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount at closing is required, and is normally financed into the total loan amount by the lender and paid to FHA on the borrower’s behalf. There is also a monthly mortgage insurance premium (MIP) which varies based on the amortization term and loan-to-value ratio.
The program originated during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the rates of foreclosures and defaults rose sharply, and the program was intended to provide lenders with sufficient insurance. Some FHA programs were subsidized by the government, but the goal was to make it self-supporting, based on insurance premiums paid by borrowers. Over time, private mortgage insurance (PMI) companies came into play, and now FHA primarily serves people who cannot afford a conventional down payment or otherwise do not qualify for PMI. The program has since this time been modified to accommodate the heightened recession.
How to obtain an FHA loan
The FHA does not make loans. Rather, it insures loans made by private lenders. The first step in obtaining an FHA loan is to contact several lenders and/or mortgage brokers and ask them if they are FHA-Approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to originate FHA loans. As each lender sets its own rates and terms, comparison shopping is important in this market.
Second, the potential lender assesses the prospective home buyer for risk. The analysis of one’s debt-to-income ratio enables the buyer to know what type of home can be afforded based on monthly income and expenses and is one risk metric considered by the lender. Other factors, e.g. payment history on other debts, are considered and used to make decisions regarding eligibility and terms for a loan. FHA loans for buyers who don’t meet a minimum 640 FICO score may be subject to higher mortgage rates.
The FHA makes provisions for home buyers who have recovered from “economic events”. Via the Back To Work – Extenuating Circumstances program, the FHA reduces its standard, mandatory three-year application waiting period for buyers with a history of foreclosure, short sale or deed-in-lieu; and two-year application waiting period after a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For buyers who can show that the economic event was preceded by at least a twenty percent household income reduction which lasted for six months or more; and who can show a satisfactory credit history for the most recent 12 months, the FHA will allow an application, and will agree to insure the home loan. The Back To Work program lasts through September 30, 2016.
Section 251 insures home purchase or refinancing loans with interest rates that may increase or decrease over time, which enables consumers to purchase or refinance their home at a lower initial interest rate.
FHA’s mortgage insurance programs help low- and moderate-income families become homeowners by lowering some of the costs of their mortgage loans. FHA mortgage insurance also encourages lenders to make loans to otherwise credit-worthy borrowers and projects that might not be able to meet conventional underwriting requirements, protecting the lender against loan default on mortgages for properties that meet certain minimum requirements, including manufactured homes, single and multifamily properties, and some health-related facilities. The basic FHA mortgage insurance program is Mortgage Insurance for One-to-Four-Family Homes (Section 203(b)).
FHA allows first time homebuyers to put down as little as 3.5% and receive up to 6% towards closing costs. However, few lenders will allow a seller to contribute more than 3% toward allowable closing costs. If little or no credit exists for the applicants, the FHA will allow a qualified non-occupant co-borrower to co-sign for the loan without requiring that person to reside in the home with the first time homebuyer. The co-signer does not have to be a blood relative. This is called a Non-Owner-Occupied Co-Borrower.